Understanding the 3 Phases of Injury Rehabilitation

The process of injury rehabilitation is a complex one, and it is important to understand the different phases in order to ensure a successful recovery. The three phases of rehabilitation are the protection phase, the repair phase, and the remodeling phase. The protection phase is the first stage of recovery and typically lasts from two to four days, depending on the severity of the injury. During this stage, the body's goal is to protect the injury from further damage by limiting movement and recruiting supportive tissues to relieve additional pressure.

Depending on the type of injury, this may involve wearing a compression bandage or crutch for a few days and avoiding activities that increase pain or swelling. The repair phase follows after swelling or bleeding has subsided and usually lasts up to six weeks after the injury. During this phase, the body is depositing new scar tissue which reduces the need to protect the injury as it matures and strengthens. The remodeling phase is the final stage of recovery and usually lasts six weeks to three months after the injury.

During this phase, the body begins to teach scar tissue to behave like the tissue it has replaced by producing additional new tissue to help strengthen and support scarred scar tissue so you can keep up with the demands of your normal physical activity. It is important to note that traditional rehabilitation programs often fail at several points in this process. Pain generators are not properly addressed, which can lead to impaired muscle activation and impaired movement biomechanics. Therefore, it is essential to address all elements of phases 1 and 2.However, where traditional rehabilitation most often fails is by completely neglecting Phase 3.Phase 3 is all about building bulletproof knees for life.

This phase is based on the previous phases and involves consistently monitoring muscle activation, balance, motor control and force absorption through strategically programmed warm-ups. Additionally, heavy load on muscles, tendons, bones and joints is essential for later stages of rehabilitation in order to improve resilience of your musculoskeletal system. Phase 3 also adds sport-specific, high-speed motion and plyometric training for athletes who want to play again. It is important to challenge your knee in real-life situations and practice movement and reaction to unpredictable circumstances in a safe environment before returning to higher-risk activities. Finally, Phase 3 incorporates evidence-based testing to ensure injury risk factors are managed. Objectives during Phase 3 include limiting impairment and recovering from functional losses by restoring coordination and balance, improving speed, agility, and sport-specific skills that progress from simple to complex.

This phase starts around 21 days and can continue for 6 to 12 months.

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